As the winter sports season draws to a close, it’s time for the hockey team and the men’s and women’s basketball teams to get hot. The team’s in general can still make a run in their respective NCAA conference tournaments. Each team has the talent to make a run, now it is a matter of execution. The drive to “March Madness” needs to start with a want to win the conference championship and move on. It’s time for the teams to dig deep and show their opponents the fight in the “Fightin’ Irish” and come out on top.
There is no reason the men’s basketball team can’t finish the regular season 21-10. With only five games remaining in the season, there are three games at home (Miami 2/23, FSU 3/4 and VT 3/7) and two road games (BC 2/26 and WF 2/29). The Irish can get on a hot streak and make some noise in the ACC Tournament. Of their eight previous losses, seven of them were by a margin of five points or less. Those losses are the result of just not finishing. This team could be 22-4 versus 16-10 and the discussion is completely different. There would be a definite discussion of NCAA Tournament versus the NIT discussion.
On the upside of the discussion, men’s basketball finished the regular season 13-18 last year. The team is trending in the right direction. With John Mooney at the helm, you know he wants to make it back to the “Big Dance” in March and play in April.
There is no reason why the women’s basketball team can’t get into a grove and make women’s tournament. At 10-16, the women have four games remaining in the regular season. There is a three game home stand against (VT 2/20, Cuse 2/23 and NC 2/27). The Irish will travel for the last game of the regular season against FSU on 3/1. They can end the regular season with a record of 14-16.
With the loss of their five starters last season, four seniors and Jackie Young as a Junior, the Irish were throw into a rebuild situation. The struggled to find an upperclassmen to lead the team through the tough waters. Freshman Sam Brunelle was able to get her feet underneath her and emerged as the team leader early in the second half of the season. Brunelle took on the responsibility of team leader and has grown from the experience. If the team goes onto the NCAA Tournament, it will be the first time in years that they do not host the first two rounds of the tournament as a number one seed.
Hockey is just a different sport. In hockey, its just not the wins, losses or ties that rate your success. It is the points awarded for those wins, losses or ties. Any hockey weekend there are six points up for grabs. Those points become more important in conference play. The Notre Dame Hockey team had some pretty rough weekends this season. After winning the B1G regular season for the past two years, the Irish are need to get on one last hot streak and win this weekends series against the Wolverines and win the regular season home stand against the Spartans.
The B1G Tournament also get’s an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Fightin’ Irish hockey team also has the talent to win their conference tournament. With Cale Morris between the pipes, Cam Morrison, Michael Graham, Tory Dello and Mike O’Leary the Irish have the firepower to qualify for the tournament. The winning needs to start this weekend to set the foundation of confidence to move forward.
Shake Down The Thunder Sports wants to wish all the teams best of luck in their final push of the winter season. Cheers and Go Irish! 🍀